Nobody likes to spend hours on a website—even when it’s in the name of improving aviation safety. If you’ve ever navigated the FAA’s SafetyTeam (FAASTeam) website, you know what I mean.
Now, there’s an easier way to navigate the system using an app called E-Z WINGS. The Wings Industry Network, a group created to promote aviation safety, introduced the app to the flight instructor community during EAA AirVenture last week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
E-Z WINGS Streamlines the Process
The FAASTeam promotes aviation safety by encouraging pilots to gain experience and knowledge through earning additional certificates and ratings. The program is divided in the acquisition of knowledge and flight experience. The latter is often a flight review, an instrument proficiency check, or a successful completion of a check ride. To earn credit, flight activities have to be validated by the CFI or DPE involved. That used to mean logging on to the FAASTeam page and wading through what many consider to be a non-user friendly website with pages and pages of tabs and forms.
Now, there’s another way to do this.
“E-Z WINGS is a direct path,” explained John Teipen, the lead director of the Wings Industry Network. “It is a tool designed to work on a smartphone or tablet. With a few button pushes, the CFI or DPE can give the pilot credit for the flight activity.” According to Teipen, the user visits ezwings.net and bookmarks the app. Once this is done, accreditation and validation of the pilot’s activities is done with a few keystrokes.
This news is likely of great interest to DPEs and CFIs, who applaud the concept of flying activities, such as check rides, IPCs, and flight reviews to improve a pilot’s skills, but didn’t like wading through the clunky FAASTeam website to give their learners proper credit.
Reviewing the app at AirVenture, Doug Stewart, a DPE, founding member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and a self-proclaimed luddite, sang the praises of E-Z WINGS. He said now he can validate the flight activities for the pilot and issue a phase of the WINGS program “with just a few clicks.” “All I need is the applicant’s email address and I note the date, and it’s done in a matter of five minutes.”
Karen Kalishek, the chair of the National Association of Flight Instructors as well being a DPE and the 2019 National FAASTeam Representative of the Year, said, “The E-Z WINGS tool strikes gold as a user-friendly app that addresses a need in the aviation community. As a pilot examiner and flight instructor, I appreciate the thoughtful design which makes FAA WINGS credit issuance a quick and simple process. E-Z WINGS encourages CFI and pilot involvement in the FAA’s WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program and will help to increase aviation safety.”
Earn Those Proficiency Wings
For pilots participating in FAASTeam events in the FAA’s WINGS program, there are incentives and rewards for participation in each phase of the program, from snazzy lapel pins and more importantly, sometimes there is a reduction in pilot insurance costs—because the pilots who participate in these events are demonstrating a commitment to ongoing education and safety, making them, in theory, a reduced risk.
David St. George, a DPE and the director of SAFE, said approximately 70,000 checkrides are given in the United States each year. “A lot of people do the online courses, but too few people do the flying portion required to complete a phase of the WINGS program,” he said. “Many people don’t know that successful passage of a check ride is an activity that qualifies as a WINGS credit. E-Z WINGS makes it easier for the DPEs to log in and approve people’s credit, which can lead to them becoming committed WINGS users, and adopting a safety mindset.”